Bodmin Jail

In the heart of Cornwall lies Bodmin Jail, a historic site steeped in history and mystery. Once a 18th-century prison, Bodmin Jail has been transformed into a captivating attraction for those looking to explore Cornwall’s darker history.

With its atmospheric ruins, immersive exhibitions, and eerie tales, a visit to Bodmin Jail is an unforgettable journey into the past.

Discovering Bodmin Jail

Bodmin Jail played a crucial role in the British penal system during its operation from 1779 until 1927.

It was a pioneer in the reform of prisoners and the site of many public hangings.

Today, the jail offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of those who were incarcerated here, with restored cells and detailed exhibitions that recount tales of justice and punishment through the ages.

The Dark Walk Experience

One of the highlights of Bodmin Jail is the “Dark Walk” experience, an immersive multimedia journey that brings to life the stories of the jail’s former inmates, using state-of-the-art technology and atmospheric effects.

This engaging experience provides a profound insight into Cornwall’s criminal past.

Paranormal Nights and After Dark Events

For those intrigued by the supernatural, Bodmin Jail is reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in the UK.

The jail hosts regular paranormal investigations and after-dark events, offering brave visitors the chance to experience the jail’s eerie atmosphere by night.

Planning Your Visit

Getting There

Bodmin Jail is located on the edge of Bodmin town, making it easily accessible by car, with free parking available on-site.

For those using public transport, Bodmin is well-connected by bus services, and the jail is just a short walk from the town centre.

Tickets and Opening Times

The jail is open to visitors year-round, but opening hours can vary, so it’s advisable to check the official website for the most current information.

Booking tickets online in advance is recommended, particularly for special events and paranormal nights, which can sell out quickly.

Best Times to Visit

While Bodmin Jail is a fascinating visit at any time of year, the autumn and winter months, with their longer evenings, provide a particularly atmospheric backdrop for exploring the jail and attending after-dark events.

Maximising Your Experience

Guided Tours: For a deeper understanding of the jail’s history and its inmates, consider joining a guided tour led by knowledgeable guides who can share intriguing stories and lesser-known facts about the site.

Visit the Exhibition: Make sure to explore the exhibition areas, which have been thoughtfully curated to educate visitors about the social history, penal reform, and the naval wing of the jail.

The Naval Wing: Recently opened, the Naval Wing offers insights into the jail’s role within the Royal Navy, including stories of desertion and discipline on the high seas.

Tips for Your Visit

Wear Comfortable Shoes: With uneven floors and steps to navigate, comfortable footwear is a must.

Dress Warmly: The temperature inside the jail can be cool, especially outside of the summer months, so bring an extra layer.

Respect the Site: Remember that Bodmin Jail is a site of historical significance and, for many, a place of remembrance. Please be respectful during your visit.

Nearby Attractions

Bodmin Moor: Explore the rugged beauty of Bodmin Moor, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, known for its dramatic landscapes and archaeological sites.

Lanhydrock House: A short drive from Bodmin, this National Trust property is a magnificent late Victorian country house with extensive gardens and wooded estate.

The Camel Trail: For outdoor enthusiasts, the Camel Trail offers a scenic route for walking or cycling, stretching from Bodmin to Padstow.


A visit to Bodmin Jail is not just a step back in time; it’s an exploration of Cornwall’s historical landscape, its judicial past, and its folklore.

Whether you’re drawn by the history, the paranormal, or simply the unique atmosphere of this historic site, Bodmin Jail offers an intriguing and educational experience for all.